How to Make the Most Out of a Trade Show or Convention Booth



Trade shows are a terrific way for you to expand the scope of your business, attract new clients and sell your products in a whole new way. Nevertheless, it can be quite intimidating when you get to the show floor and see all of your flashy competition. Coming up with ways to set your booth apart from the rest can help you make the most of your trade show experience.

Plan Ahead

The early bird definitely gets the worm when it comes to making an impact on simultaneously over-stimulated and exhausted attendees. Weeks and even months before the show, start brainstorming ways to create a buzz about your business. That means using social media to announce your plans and promotions. In addition, be sure to order branded swag well enough in advance so you’ll have items to hand out to visitors at the show. Items such as T-shirts, pens, mouse pads, phone cases, stress balls and even socks can go over well.

Give Advanced Notice Via Email

Available to all trade show participants is a list of the other vendors and customers registered to be there. Ask for it ahead of time so that you can see who you know. Send out a personalized invitation to these people to stop by your booth. The more the merrier, and the better it will be for you. When attendees you don’t yet know see that your space is popular, they will drop by to find out what all the fuss is about.

Incorporate What Works

If you have the time and it makes sense logistically, go to a couple of shows before you make your own debut. See what works and what is resonating with people. Are the popular booths having contests, giving out candy or playing games? Do you know that old saying about the smorgasbord: Take what you like and leave the rest? That is how you should approach this mild and perfectly legal form of industrial espionage.

Focus on Your Display

You want your set-up to shout success and innovation, while also being inviting to people passing by. While you don’t need to spend a lot to get noticed, make the commitment to your display. If it looks attractive and solid, so will you. Research trade show display providers and find the right balance between quality and price. Then, be sure to tap a trusted graphic designer for your booth and signage. Remember that you will probably be able to re-use your booth at future shows or even sidewalk sales or fairs, so a small investment could go a long way.

Hand Out Big Reusable Bags

Anyone who has spent any time perusing the booths at a show will tell you that they never have a large enough bag to carry all of those great free giveaways. By furnishing a very large bag prominently emblazoned with your company logo, you will be accomplishing two purposes: satisfying a need while simultaneously making your company name something that is carried around the entire venue by an ever-increasing number of grateful attendees.

Streamline the Buying Experience

Thanks to modern technology, even the most staid of brick-and-mortar establishments can now take their wares on the road. All it requires is mobile credit card processing equipment. Don’t just refer people to your website or physical store; have some of your products on hand for immediate purchase. You just need a tablet or smartphone paired with a secure card reader, which will process customers’ payments in a matter of seconds and make you look like the innovative, tech-savvy company you are. Check with the venue to ensure you’ll receive a strong signal for your mobile device, and test your equipment once you arrive to ensure smooth transactions.

Create a Fun Vibe

Many of the old-school vendors have been at conventions year after year. Their staff might be tired and jaded, thinking only of when they can pack up and leave. You, on the other hand, have the opportunity to be the life of the party as a new and hungry entrepreneur. Make your exhibit booth interesting and interactive, and also find ways to network. Invite people to go out with you after the event or sponsor your own gathering at a nearby establishment.

Create a Company Video

It’s great to chat up passersby about what you do, but you can only talk to a finite number of guests at a time. While you are having these conversations, you can make even more of an impact with a company-specific video that runs in a loop. People are attracted to big screens with color visuals, so use this to your advantage with a video. Not sure how to make one? Enlist the services of local college students or young film or video enthusiasts, who are often willing to work for a lower fee with exposure as a trade-off.

In a nutshell, trade shows are what you make them. They can either be long, boring and frustrating or they can serve as springboards that can help bring your company a whole new level of exposure. Take some time to lay the groundwork with research, a compelling display and innovative ideas, and you might just be amazed at the places trade shows can take your company.